Sing is one of those movies that can pretty much be summed up through it’s promotional posters. It’s a movie about cute animals that love to sing. That’s pretty much it and that’s pretty much all the target demographic needs. Sing might not be the most ambitious animated feature ever made, but not every kids movie needs to reach the same level of artistry as Moana or Kubo and the Two Strings. The film knows that it’s fluff, although that doesn’t stop the animators from pouring a ton of heart, wit, and effort into the product. The result is an infectiously fun family picture that plays out like Pitch Perfect meets Zootopia.
The result is an infectiously fun family picture that plays out like Pitch Perfect meets Zootopia.
The story, for what it is, centers on Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, a wide-eyed koala with a passion for musicals. Buster owns a theater and hopes to one day put on a hit show, although he’s produced more flops than Max Bialystock himself. Rather than doing another traditional musical, he decides to put on a singing competition along the lines of The Voice or American Idol. The winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000. Inopportunely, Buster’s one-eyed secretary, an iguana voiced by director Garth Jennings, makes a typo on the flyers and promises $100,000. Will Buster be able to get the money, save his theater, and make his dreams come true? Do almost all musicals have happy endings?
McConaughey turns in an optimistic and incredibly likable voiceover performance as Buster. For a movie called Sing, however, he ironically doesn’t really get to demonstrate his singing chops. Of course after hearing his rendition of Ladies Of Tampa in Magic Mike, that’s probably for the best. Besides, the supporting players have more than enough musical talent to go around. While the film has a pretty large ensemble, it fortunately doesn’t feel overstuffed like that latter seasons of Glee. Everybody is given just the right amount of time to shine.
Reese Witherspoon is a delight as Rosita, a plump piggy who gave up her singing aspirations to raise twenty-five children. Taron Egerton shows off his angelic singing voice as Johnny, a sensitive gorilla who reluctantly robs banks alongside his criminal father. Scarlett Johansson brings down the house as Ash, a punk rock porcupine with an attitude and a jerky boyfriend (Beck Bennett). Seth MacFarlane does his best Frank Sinatra impression as Mike, a tiny mouse with a massive ego. There’s also Tori Kelly as Meena, an elephant with a beautiful voice and a severe case of stage fright. All five of these characters make it to the semifinals of Buster’s show, but eventually find that the cash prize isn’t what it’s cracked to be.
As you can tell, the story isn’t anything new. There are a dozen tropes here we’ve seen a million times before, notably the frustrating liar revealed cliché. The plot really isn’t the focus, though. The film’s appeal lies in its comedy, characters, and music. Speaking of which, Sing is bound to have you tapping your toes on multiple occasions. Granted, some of the modern pop melodies may be dated in another five years. However, there’s also a nice balance of timeless tunes that still hold up. In any case, these are gifted artists covering enormously catchy songs.
The film’s appeal lies in its comedy, characters, and music.
Sing comes from Illumination Entertainment, the same studio that gave us the Despicable Me movies and The Secret Life of Pets. None of their outings have exactly been game changers, but sometimes it’s refreshing to see an animated film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The same can be said about the classic Looney Tunes or Tom and Jerry shots. Sing is unapologetically cartoony and there’s nothing wrong with that. Even if it’s not revolutionary, it’s hard not to enjoy a movie that solely exists to make the audience laugh.